The knee gave me a few issues overnight and was fairly sore so we made the call that we needed to get it checked out. We were very fortunate to be able to give Maria a call and she very kindly said she would come and pick us up - about a 2 hour drive for her from Opua out to Diggers Valley Rd!! A "trail angel" indeed :-)
We were in no mad rush so we decamped and headed off around 0900 for the downhill (some very steep!) run to Diggers Valley Rd. The day's gps track is here.
It was definitely all downhill, as noted - and as you can see from the photo below, some of it simply wasn't negotiable on your feet - particularly with the mud around! So it wasn't just our shoes/feet that were muddy by the end of the descent - I had also slipped over a couple of times earlier on the descent, so was well used to it by then!!
After about 2.5km or so, we emerged onto an old farm track that is actually an official road - Veza Rd (you can even find it on Google Maps!!) - although I don't think even a 4wd has been up it for some time! This was on the forest margin so we had views of some real farmland.
We followed this grassy "road" for about half a km or so until it exited onto Diggers Valley Road (a very rural gravel road). As we had a bit of time before Maria was due to pick us up, we decided to walk the next 1.2km to where the next part of the TA turned off Diggers Valley Rd into forestry land again - that's where we will have to start when we get back to it again!!
Having walked the 1.2km, as above, we decided that we were unsure as to which direction Maria might be coming from, so walked back the 1.2km (!!) to the intersection. We sat down and got the food bag out for a bit of lunch - but about 5 minutes later Maria rocked up to pick us up. On the 2hr trip back we saw some lovely bits of Northland we would otherwise not have seen.
Andrew cooked us another roast for dinner - which was hugely appreciated - as were the couple of beers I felt I could safely consume (not having had one for the best part of a couple of weeks! So safely back in Opua - and very lucky to have such a support base to lean on here in the form of Maria and Andrew!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!